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Grubhub temporarily cancels delivery fees to restaurants impacted by coronavirus

The move will put thousands of extra dollars into the pockets of restaurateurs in Chicago and around the country.

Grubhub CEO Matt Maloney at a City Hall news conference Friday with Mayor Lori Lightfoot by his side and restaurateurs and 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney in the background.
Grubhub CEO Matt Maloney at a City Hall news conference Friday with Mayor Lori Lightfoot by his side and restaurateurs and 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney in the background.
Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Grubhub announced Friday it will temporarily stop charging a delivery fee to independent restaurants to help ease financial suffering as fewer and fewer people are choosing to dine in as a result of the coronavirus.

“We’re prepared to delay up to $100 million in our revenue to help these restaurants be more solvent and help them fulfill their commitments to their staff, the majority of which are hourly workers who unfortunately will bear the brunt of this economic crisis,” Grubhub CEO Matt Maloney said at a news conference outside Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s City Hall office.

The move will leave thousands of extra dollars a month in the pockets of restaurateurs, Maloney said.

An average delivery fee charged to a restaurant is “easily more than 10%” of the order, he said.

Grubhub is headquartered in the Loop.

Lightfoot praised Maloney for the move.

“The reality is that less people are choosing to dine in. We need restaurants to rely more and more on pickup and delivery orders to keep their doors open and stay afloat...as people choose to stay at home and follow the guidance of social distancing,” Lightfoot said.

She also noted that it’s safe to visit restaurants.

“My family and I plan to make sure that we’re patronizing restaurants, obviously because we like to, but also to send a signal that restaurants are safe,” Lightfoot said.

R.J. Melman, president of Lettuce Entertain You, a restaurant group that operates dozens of restaurants in the area, said that business fell off “a gigantic cliff” over the last seven days to the tune of 40 to 70%.

“It means a lot,” Melman said of the impact Grubhub’s relief measure will have on Chicago restaurants.

Maloney also pledged to give money from the company’s “Donate the Change” program to non-profits that “directly impact the local restaurants and drivers whose lives have been upended by this crisis.”

The program — which allows delivery customers to round up to the nearest dollar for charity — collects more than $1 million a month, said Maloney.

“This is a no brainer,” Maloney said.